Red Garland Trio: Groovy
This trio was known as the rhythm section when Groovy was made. Pianist Red Garland (1923-84), bassist Paul Chambers (1935-69) and drummer Art Taylor (1929-95) were in the midst of a long tenure with Miles Davis and stayed busy in studios backing one horn player after another. The unit's simpatico refinement never wavers in doubt. They were made for each other, honed in night-after-night of performances in a variety of settings. Consider the way Garland balances his chunky block chords on the left with a dancer's lightness on the right. Or the kinetic way Chambers and Taylor interact to trade rhythm and musicality among each other. Consider, too, this is the same unit that ably bridged the spheres between the romantic Miles Davis and the more protean John Coltrane. Surely, this is a combination, or partnership, of truly compelling proportions. The program on Groovy is a warm, sultry mix of jazz standards ("C Jam Blues," "Willow Weep For Me"), then-popular fare ("Gone Again," "What Can I Say," "Will You Still Be Mine") and a de rigueur Garland blues ("Hey Now"). This was Garland's third Prestige release, the result of two sessions on December 14, 1956 (not May 24, 1957 as the disc indicates) and August 9, 1957. It is typical of the many trio recordings Garland made. But it is grand and easy to enjoy over and over again. Groovy is, well, totally groovy.